Internet Safety Rules for Seniors to Stay Protected Against Cyber Threats
The internet provides an excellent avenue for seniors to connect to like-minded communities, interact online, and stay in touch with loved ones. It gives them entertainment, knowledge, and access to many free (and paid) resources. However, some predators take advantage of their susceptibility, since most seniors are not tech-savvy. Every age group is at risk of cybercrime threats, and seniors are no exception. The likelihood of falling for scams is very high since seniors share information about themselves, which makes them easy targets online. Knowing how to safeguard oneself from these scams is essential, and this is where following internet safety rules come in.
Why Is Internet Safety Important?
Internet safety is essential because you are not the only one who gets compromised, but others also who communicate with you via your internet accounts. A criminal can steal your data and use it to manipulate other victims in the pretense of wanting money or other information. One should not take it lightly, so be sure to educate yourself and not stay in the dark, especially when using new technologies. Hiring a computer technician or a security expert from a reputed company is always a good idea. These professionals will thoroughly evaluate your systems and install the best security software to patch all security vulnerabilities.
25 Internet Safety Tips for seniors
Here is a list of the best internet safety tips for seniors.
1. Never open a link from an unverifiable source – You can configure your computer’s network security and firewalls and ensure your device is well-protected. However, if you end up clicking on an unknown link you receive from a good friend or relative online, it may be malware. Several online hackers pry on people with an odd link with a text like ‘is that you in the video,’ or ‘click to donate to charity.’ Stay alert and away from any ad posts or links.
2. Do not share personal information – Information and online identity are valuable to hackers. They can hack social media profiles with verification codes. Do not share your personal or private information with strangers, especially no details about bank accounts, phone numbers, emails, etc. Do not disregard your intellectual assets when it comes to internet safety.
3. Do not click on fake websites – Many scammers create fake websites using official logos and signatures. They look like the real deal and can lure you into getting conned. Look for the HTTP encryption and padlock icon before visiting. If a website does not have an SSL certificate, steer clear, since it is a part of internet safety.
4. Use a good antivirus program – A good antivirus program can filter out viruses from your emails and prevent phishing scams from reaching your inbox. It is worth the investment; you get additional features like password management, Wi-Fi scanning, software updates, and VPN.
5. Do not download pirated material – Pirated books, movies, DVDs, games, songs, and software are notorious for embedding malware in the background when you download them. They are also illegal, and although it can be enticing to get stuff for free, the hidden costs are not worth it.
6. Change your passwords frequently – Do not use the same password across all your social media handles and online accounts. Make it a practice to change often, at least once or twice a month. If you cannot remember all your passwords, you can use a password vault and set a master key for storing those passwords safely. Some password managers automatically generate randomized passwords for you every month and notify you to change across all accounts. Research and see what works for you, or ask a cybersecurity expert for more details.
7. Update system software – Upgrade to the latest operating system version and install software updates. Updating your software can prevent security vulnerabilities and other loopholes from getting exploited. Don’t neglect it since it is a critical component of internet safety.
8. Avoid ‘tech support’ scams – Many cyber criminals claim to be calling from tech support and promise to help you out. They may plant fake alerts into your system, compromise internet safety, and take control from there. Be aware.
9. Criminals who pose as grandkids – If you have grandkids in the house and criminals know of it, they may impersonate them online. Do not send money online or initiate transactions of any kind.
10. Lottery and discount scams – Seniors often look for lottery tickets, coupons, and special discounts. Hackers know this and create scam campaigns targeting them. Avoid these. If anyone offers you free money or any deal that sounds too good to be true, it is usually a scammer trying to trap you.
11. Avoid Romance Scams – Single Seniors can get into dating in their later years. Dating scams take advantage of romantic affairs, and there have been more than 280 million dollars lost from these scams in 2020 alone.
12. Use privacy settings – Your social media accounts (like Facebook) have privacy settings that you can use to limit who views your posts. You can restrict your posts to specific family members and prevent outsiders from seeing them. You can also lock your profile and switch from public to private to enhance your internet safety.
13. Avoid vishing scams – Vishing is a type of scam where the criminal may impersonate a bank or government official and call up your phone. Do not give out any information or OTP, and think twice before responding. Report the number to the authorities and on Truecaller instead.
14. Check out internet safety alerts – Internet safety alerts are periodically sent to digital users on their phones and devices, depending on their region. Your government or cybersecurity regulatory body will give you updates on this.
15. Report Cyberbullying – If you are getting messages or alerts from someone wanting to compromise your internet safety online, report them. Reach out for assistance from someone you trust, and contact law enforcement if the situation escalates. Do not keep it to yourself.
16. Warn other users – If you’ve been victimized in the past or fallen for any scams, write about them and share them online. It will help other seniors stay safe online and learn more about internet safety. Plus, it will be an excellent future reference for you to review in case you run into similar incidents again.
17. Watch out for red flags – Sometimes, scams are not so obvious, since it is the people behind them. One way to know if you are at risk of getting scammed is to observe how a stranger interacts with you. If you get bad vibes or the way they type is weird, block them.
18. Don’t send money – If someone claims to be a charity and asks for your PayPal or any donations, don’t send money. People may ask you to send money if they’re stranded or need a taxi ride. If you’re worried about internet safety, don’t give your bank and other financial details online. Always call up the person and verify when someone makes such demands online.
19. Do not accept random friend requests – It may sound obvious, but it isn’t. If someone sends a friend request to your profile, and you don’t know them personally, don’t accept. Criminals try to perform reconnaissance and gather intelligence about you by trying to be an online friend.
20. Do not make private pictures public – Pictures of your family, moments with friends, and good memories are pleasant to share. But criminals can use these to manipulate you, so avoid keeping your profile open to the unknown public.
21. Use Multifactor Authentication (MFA) – If you use your social media accounts on your phone or across multiple devices, install Multifactor Authentication (MFA) software and enable it. It will prevent criminals from hijacking your device remotely.
22. Learn about Internet Safety – If you’re new to technology, spend time learning about normal and suspicious browsing behaviours. Learn how to surf safely, communicate online, and how to avoid falling for different scams. Be tech-smart, and don’t be a newbie. You can watch many free YouTube guides.
23. Don’t shop from unknown sellers – Online shopping is fun but comes with risks. Check the website you are shopping from. The reviews can also be deceptive, so always cross-check on online forums. As a rule of thumb and for your internet safety, only buy from reputed merchants and not unknown sellers.
24. Use credit cards for payments – If you are worried about internet safety and want to buy a product, a good tip is to use your credit card. If a seller tries to scam you, the credit card company can freeze your account to locate their last location of using a credit card. The authorities can track them down and recover stolen funds.
25. Use common sense – The final internet safety tip is to use your judgement and common sense whenever you can. Talking to strangers online can be done with certain boundaries, where you don’t let them know much about your location or click on any links they send you. These links are a gateway for hackers to capture your account and cause trouble. Don’t talk to strangers online or be open to someone who appears too friendly. Common sense is not so common sometimes, and we’re at times the worst judge of characters.
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We hope this comprehensive guide to internet safety for seniors helps you out. The technology landscape is constantly evolving, so it is essential to read up on the latest internet safety facts and tips. You will be good to go if you follow the online security blogs, check the news, and stay connected with a few security friends.
Follow the latest internet safety practices. Do not share personal information online with strangers or callers.
Cybersecurity solutions may protect systems and technologies, but not the people using them. Learning about internet safety is essential for this reason.
It is a software solution or platform that performs security audits or checks. Depending on the solution, it may scan and check for security certificates, updates, and more.
Take screenshots of the conversation, collect details, and report your findings to authorities. Do not wait until the last minute.